Aug 5, 2003, 12:03 AM
Post #1 of 52
Smitty the Jumper
I would like to pay tribute to one of the true pioneers of our sport, Smitty the Jumper. Smitty was from Witchita, Kanas. He made his first jump in 1922 at the age of 36 with a parachute he made himself out of silk and had a horse harness maker make his harness. Smitty made about a dozen jumps with his orginal rig before he saw another parachute of any kind. I had the previdge of meeting Smitty at Hutchinson, Kansas when I made my first jump in September of 1977. I brought Smitty to Perris Valley Skydiving Center December 15th, 1985 where he made a tandem jump joined by the Mirror Image World Champion 8 way team sponsored by Coors beer. He brought along his orginal rig to show all those that were interested. He died a year after his last jump at the Oskosh Air Show at the age of 93. Smitty was a truly remarkable person and pioneer skydiver.
Tonto (D 515)
Aug 5, 2003, 12:56 AM
Post #2 of 52
Smitty used to come up to Albert Lea in the late 80's to Grampas jumpfest. I think he used to ride with Jeff Bodinger(from El Dorado). He also used to always be hanging out at the nationals in Muskogee. He was a very funny man with loads of wonderful stories about the things he had done. I always enjoyed spending time with him. If I remember correctly Jeff took him on a tandem at Jumpfest one year.
Tonto (D 515)
Aug 12, 2003, 1:47 AM
Post #10 of 52
You're correct... Jeff Boddiger ran Skydive El Dorado. I learned about Smitty from him, but never got to meet him as I was only there in 1992. Sounds like an inspiration to us all. Hope I'm still skydiving at that age!
I met Smitty at Woody Underwood's DZ at Maize Ks (near Wichita) in I think 69. He made his last solo jump (I think) the weekend I was there. He had his old rig with him for all to peruse. What a deal that was. All the lines were tied to an old Ford steering wheel. He was an amazing guy. A true pioneer, and could still party hard at the end of the day. I sure was glad to meet him.
Jim, found these pictures of Smitty, hope they are readable. They are black and white. One has Smittys own words on it. His son Jerry, whom i became good friends with once told me that he grew up with his mother telling him that his dad was crazy.
Hope you enjoy the PICS
(This post was edited by tonybrogdon on Aug 25, 2003, 4:04 PM)
I brought Smitty to Perris Valley Skydiving Center December 15th, 1985 where he made a tandem jump joined by the Mirror Image World Champion 8 way team sponsored by Coors beer. The Coors team was formerly known as Visions before they got the sponsorship. Visions/Coors was the world champion 8 way team at the 1985 meet in Yugoslavia. Visions had also won the 1983 world meet in South Africa, but all of the other heavyweight contenders like France, the Soviets, and China had stayed away because of the apartheid regime, so the "competition" was mostly a bunch of cream puff teams. At the Yugoslavia meet Coors won the old fashioned way, by beating the real competitors. Mirror Image was still around in '85, but had not been to a world championship since their win at Z-Hills in '81.
Intereestingly enough, getting back to the 1983 So. African meet, FAI sanctioned a "protest" meet with Worl Cup status at Abbotsford, BC, Canada in '83. Mirror Image did represent the US at the Abbotsford Cup meet, where I think they finished second behind the French (?). Also the U.S. Army 4 way team won the Nationals that year, but were not permitted to go to So. Africa, but went to the Abbotsford meet and I don't remember whether they won or placed. With the Army not going to So. Africa, one of the Visions 4 way teams, either "Fire" or "Ice", which had finished second at the Nationals, went as the US 4 way team.
Sorry, this wasn't meant to detract from the Smitty story, but the confusion about Mirror Image and Coors stirred up some memories about some interesting times for two really great teams.